Trade: Red Wings send Anthony Mantha to Capitals for Vrana, Panik, draft picks

6 Comments

Just when it looked as if the 2021 NHL trade deadline was going to quietly fizzle out, the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings pulled off a last minute blockbuster.

The Red Wings are sending forward Anthony Mantha to the Capitals for a massive trade package that includes Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round draft pick, and a 2022 second-round draft pick.

There is a lot to like about this trade for both teams.

For Washington, Mantha seems like an absolutely perfect fit for the way that team is built and plays. He is a massive human being, plays a physical game, and plays at a really high level. That combination is not easy to find.

His biggest issue in Detroit in recent years has been staying on the ice as injuries have limited him over the past couple of years. But when he is out there he is a noticeable, impact player. He scores at a 25-30 goal pace over 82 games, and has been an outstanding possession drive on a roster that has been one of the league’s worst throughout his career. Put him on a roster like Washington that is full of high-end players that play a game similar to him and it could be a perfect match.

He is also signed long-term through the 2023-24 season at a salary cap hit of $5.7 million per season.

That is a significant get for a team that is already a Stanley Cup contender.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2020-21 Trade Tracker]

That is not to say Detroit did poorly here. This is an outstanding return for its best player.

Vrana is an extremely talented player and has been very productive so far in his career and could probably excel even more in a bigger role, something he will almost certainly get in Detroit. He is a restricted free agent after this season and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after next season, so the Red Wings do have some work to do in terms of getting him re-signed. But he is an excellent player and a strong centerpiece in a Mantha trade.

Panik is a strong defensive forward, but was probably always destined to be the odd-man out in Washington, especially given his contract that still has two more full seasons remaining at a salary cap hit of $2.75 million. His biggest value to Detroit in the short-term might be as a trade chip somewhere else in the future.

It also gives the Red Wings a bounty of draft picks over the next two years.

They now have 12 picks in the 2021 class, including five in the first two rounds (two first-round picks and three second-round picks), and 10 picks in the 2022 class.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

austonmatthews
Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.